Saturday, July 21, 2012

5 Apps to Stretch Your Hard Earned Dollars

The precariousness of the current global economy has renewed the value of frugality for the majority of the working class. People are looking for any and every way possible to save money, including taking advantage of online coupons, cutting down on eating out, and even taking public transportation when possible rather than driving. Now that smartphones such as the iPhone and Android-based devices have become nearly ubiquitous, money saving apps are also a viable way to stretch your hard earned dollar. Here are 5 apps that can help you go a little further with your next paycheck:

Red Laser
Price: Free
Available Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows

No shopper should enter a brick and mortar store without this app downloaded on their smartphone. Red Laser is a bar code scanning application that allows users to scan the bar code of any item and search online for the best deal. It presents you not only with the prices of the item by different competitors, but also reviews by people who have already purchased and used the item themselves.

Price: Free
Available Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows

Groupon, the coupon and discount company known mostly for their website, also provides their services on all major smartphone operating systems. The app offers significant discounts on everything from massage sessions to sporting event tickets. There is one caveat: in order for a deal to be "on", a predetermined number of customers must commit to it. Don't worry though, you are not charged the quota until the conditions for the deal is met.

Price: Free
Platform: iOS

Probably number one on most people's list of necessities that is becoming more and more of a strain on the wallet is gas. People frequently drive around town from one gas station to the next in search of the best price, further expending gas and perpetuating the problem. With the Mygas app, however, this is no longer an issue. This app provides the price of gas in all stations in your area.

Price: Free
Platform: iOS, Android

Apps that provide coupons and listings of the best price on particular products and services are great, but perhaps the most important thing anyone can do to save money is keep meticulous track of their own spending habits. Mint allows you to do just that. This app is ideal for people who frequently wonder "where does all my money go?" With Mint you can make note every time you make a purchase and later analyze your buying habits to determine where and how you can cut down on spending.

Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows

Fees for late payments on bills are one of the more annoying and easily avoidable expenses. Statistics show that the average person loses about an hour a day in productivity due to disorganization of bills and the incurring of late fees that result. Pageonce helps to ensure that this does not happen to you. The app connects to all your online bill-paying accounts and keeps track of which bills you have and have not paid. When a bill is close to its due date, it sends alerts to your phone. For those with concerns about storing sensitive account information on apps, Pageonce promises "military level" security features.
Using these apps will surely result in noticeable savings, and the fact that they are all free leaves no excuse for not trying them out.

Sam Spector is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing while working on his first novel, tentatively titled "Other Ways to Oblivion."


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